Featured | Written by:
Michelle Goede | Published in: Fighters
Diego Sanchez, throughout his career, has always been near the top of the heap, in whichever weight division he has chosen to fight in. He has always possessed the astounding strength and fortitude to remain at least somewhat in the title picture, and he has also been a fan favorite since his days on The Ultimate Fighter’s series debut.
At the current moment, his future is somewhat uncertain, and after his latest changes, fans are left wondering who Sanchez is now, and what is next for the popular UFC veteran.
So, what is next for Sanchez?
With his recent decision loss to top welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger, a title shot doesn’t seem to be in the cards any time soon. What he should consider, however, is a move back down to the UFC’s lightweight division.
Since his beginnings in the sport of mixed martial arts, Sanchez has always struggled when facing larger, stronger opponents, which is why he had moved down to lightweight a couple of years ago. He may have been too hasty to jump back up to competing again at 170 pounds, as we are seeing the same issues arise that we’ve seen throughout his tenure in the UFC.
When he was at 155 pounds, Diego was a lean, mean, fighting machine, using his size and strength to overwhelm his opponents, and even earn a title shot. Upon being out-boxed by “The Prodigy,” he scampered back to the welterweight division, where he was more comfortable.
This move back was understood by most, but if he wants to earn another title shot, it may be wise to reach for the lightweight belt rather than that at welterweight. Even if Sanchez were to go on a tear following his recent loss, and eventually earn a title shot against the champion – which would most likely be either Georges St.-Pierre or Carlos Condit – he would be facing a stronger, larger fighter either way. His chances of becoming a champion are much better at lightweight, and he should seriously consider dedicating himself to that division in order to take his career to its full potential.
Sanchez has achieved a record of just 2-2 since his return to welterweight, and overall in his career, 4 of his 5 losses are against larger, stronger wrestlers.
His career at lightweight was given only three fights, and neither Sanchez nor his fans have gotten to see his full potential in the lighter division. In this day and age of fighters cutting massive amounts of weight and maximizing their advantages, Diego must critically analyze the position his career is in, and how far he wants to take it in the future. If he truly wants to wear a UFC belt around his waist at some point, he will need to make some sacrifices to allow his body to ease back into fighting at lightweight. He also must allow some time for his body to adapt to the change, unlike his first Lightweight run back in 2009.
With Diego’s recent name change from “The Nightmare” to “The Dream,” and his recent attitude change towards his MMA career from fighting to win to fighting for his family, now is a great time to implement a permanent change to fighting at 155 pounds.
As of late, he has seemed somewhat lost and without direction, even with his recent couple of wins. It would be refreshing to see him truly take his career to heights it hasn’t seen before with a commitment and devotion to making himself the best in the lightweight division.